April 25, 2016
by Tony Jones
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- North Carolina utilized a four-run bottom of the third inning to take its first lead on Monday night, but the University of Notre Dame softball team answered with a grand slam in the fifth inning to tie the contest. The Tar Heels made timely plays down the stretch to emerge with a 7-6 win and a series victory at Anderson Stadium.
Destiny DeBerry opened the bottom of the North Carolina (26-22, 10-11 ACC) first inning with a slap single in front of the plate, taking second base on a stolen base. A passed ball moved DeBerry to third, where Kristen Brown reached via walk. As Brown attempted to force a throw to allow DeBerry to steal home, Notre Dame shortstop Morgan Reed fired a strike to the plate to retire the lead runner. Tracy Chandless ultimately grounded out to third base to end the Tar Heels ups with two runners on.
Notre Dame (35-8, 10-5 ACC) broke through against North Carolina starter Kendra Lynch (22-16) in the top of the third inning. After Maddie McCracken crushed a leadoff single up the middle of the diamond, Megan Sorlie and Bailey Bigler each reached on consecutive fielder's choice plays. After a co-captain Karley Wester groundout moved both runners into scoring position, Ali Wester clocked an RBI single through the left side to score Sorlie and put the Irish in front 1-0. Melissa Rochford clocked an RBI single off the leg of Lynch to plate Bigler for the 2-0 Notre Dame advantage.
North Carolina answered with four runs in the bottom of the third, three by way of a home run to center field by Berlynne Delamora to vault the Tar Heels in front 4-2. The Tar Heels added a pair of RBI plays with two outs in the bottom of the fourth inning to up the North Carolina lead to 6-2.
The Irish found a rally in the top of the fifth inning to erase the four-run deficit. Karley Wester reached by way of a North Carolina throwing error, and a Rochford walk and Tar Heel fielder's choice loaded the bases for Micaela Arizmendi with one out. Arizmendi drove a 1-1 Lynch pitch deep and gone for a grand slam to left center field. Arizmendi's eighth home run of the season tied the game at 6-6.
North Carolina retook the lead in the bottom of the sixth inning thanks to timely base running. The Tar Heels pushed runners to second and third base with one out, where Brown knocked a sac fly to right field off Katie Beriont (5-2) to allow Aquilla Mateen to tag and third and score the winning run at 7-6.
Notre Dame returns to Melissa Cook Stadium on Wednesday to host DePaul in a midweek nonconference matchup. The 4 p.m. (ET) game will air live on WatchND.
For the latest news and updates on all things Notre Dame softball, visit www.und.com/softball, follow the Irish @NDsoftball and @NDcoachGumpf on Twitter and at Instagram.com/notredamesoftball, and Like the team at Facebook.com/NDSoftball.
Tony Jones, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2012 and coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame softball and men's soccer programs. A native of Jamestown, New York, Jones is a 2011 graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and prior to arriving at Notre Dame held positions at the University of Louisiana at Monroe and with the National Football League's Buffalo Bills.